Frequently Asked Questions

How much do sessions cost? How is billing structured?

We utilize a monthly subscription model to ensure consistent sessions, which leads to the best student outcomes. The subscription begins after a two-week evaluation period wherein you evaluate your mentor to make sure they’re a good fit. Sessions held during the evaluation period are discounted at $95/hour. After the evaluation period, a monthly $380 subscription will begin, including (4) one-hour sessions, plus exclusive perks. The date you are billed will be determined by your start date.

As an alternative, we offer pay-as-you-go sessions at $115 per hour. Most of our families choose the subscription model because of the significant savings and benefits. Please check out our Subscription FAQs and our Pricing Page for more information!

How are your mentors selected?

Our community of over 600 mentors hail from the top universities in the nation and are the best-of-the-best – think class presidents, Rhodes Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and more! We have a rigorous vetting, recruiting, and interviewing process whereby we evaluate mentors' passion, depth of expertise, professionalism, ability to make concepts intelligible, as well as their emotional intelligence. Throughout the process, we ensure mentors are not only top-tier teachers who can meet students where they're at, but also relatable and empathetic individuals who can identify with students' struggles and provide the necessary support and encouragement to be there for them.

Beyond this, our onboarding process trains mentors to lead and drive sessions, our Education team equips mentors with resources and curricula to lead engagements successfully, and our Student and Mentor Success teams check in to ensure sessions are meaningful and meet expectations. We’re confident that our mentors are not only people your student will enjoy learning from, but are also positive role models they’ll want to emulate.

What if my mentor isn’t a good fit with my student?

We pride ourselves on finding the “magic match” for your student. We aim to find a mentor that aligns with your student’s personality, interests, and mentor preferences. If it doesn’t feel like a great match, please share your feedback so we can understand what went wrong. From there, we’ll thoughtfully source a new mentor and make a rematch.

Note: If you are a Curious Cardinals subscriber, we will refund that first session as it is during the trial/evaluation period.

How do I schedule a session?

You can schedule time directly on your mentor’s calendar using our Easy Scheduling feature! We recommend you work with your student’s mentor to identify the best recurring weekly time. Your student’s mentor can also schedule, cancel, and reschedule sessions easily on the CC platform.

Do you offer in-person sessions or is it all online?

Our usual offering is primarily virtual, which allows us to find the best person in the world for your student with no geographical constraints. Students and parents also appreciate the convenience and comfort of digital learning, especially for neurodivergent students who prefer to learn in their own space. Our education team equips mentors with tools and resources to make lessons interactive and engaging, so your student will be excited to join their sessions.

Note: Students who live near our major university hubs (such as the Bay Area, NYC, etc.) may meet in-person with their mentors. Please speak with our team to discuss what’s possible for your student.

I’m not sure how to get started! What are popular tracks that my student can sign up for?

We offer two clear tracks your student can pursue: academic mentorship or passion project mentorship.

Academic Mentorship: Whether it’s making a subject finally make sense, or getting ahead in an area your student is already competent in, our mentors can infuse new purpose and joy into reaching your student’s academic goals. Mentors can also work with students on soft skills like executive function, interviewing, college essay prep, and more.

Passion Project Mentorship: Not sure what your student is passionate about? We believe the best way to learn is by doing! A mentor can help your student explore areas of interest with meaningful deliverables and goals along the way to finding their ‘thing’. Similarly, if your student has a wide variety of interests that are seemingly disconnected, a mentor can help them bring those passions together in a cohesive, meaningful project.

You can speak with our team to receive personalized recommendations for your student.

What if I am not satisfied with my first session?

After the first session, we check in with our parents, students, and mentors to ensure a great fit. If the first session doesn’t go well, we ask for your feedback to assess, rematch, and re-engage – we can’t fix what we’re not aware of!

Note: Under our subscription model, you will have a 2-week evaluation period to ensure your student and their mentor “click” before transitioning into your subscription. Learn more about our subscription model here.

How long do students typically participate in the Curious Cardinals program?

At Curious Cardinals, we prioritize building strong, lasting relationships between students and mentors. This holistic approach is crucial for outstanding results, but even more than that, allows for deep transformation in the way students approach learning and personal growth. With that in mind, engagements are usually 6+ months and are not dependent upon a traditional school calendar.

Students can work with mentors throughout the school year and the summer, pivoting as needed to keep them most engaged and productive. Mentees may always work with multiple mentors or transition to new mentors as their needs and goals change. Many of our mentees have stayed with us through middle school to college acceptance!

We are not here to just help your student pass Friday’s test – we’re here to guide your student in becoming their best, most confident self.

What is the expected weekly time commitment?

We’ve learned that the most impactful and transformative mentorships happen when pairs meet at a consistent weekly cadence, at least 1-2 hours per week. You can add additional sessions as needed and easily reschedule sessions using our Easy Scheduling feature, or by communicating with your student’s mentor.

The amount of time a student spends working outside of sessions may vary depending on the type of mentorship. For example, students on a passion project track may work on writing a blog outside of sessions, which they later review and edit with their mentor.

How long is a session?

Students meet weekly with their mentors one-on-one for typically an hour. For students in 4th grade or under, and those with learning differences, we may suggest starting off with 30-minute sessions and working up to an hour.

While consistency is key, you can schedule longer or shorter sessions to meet your child’s needs; for example, a longer session for extra help preparing for a test, or a shorter session to quickly review a concept or brainstorm.

How old should my child be to join Curious Cardinals?

We're proud to support students in grades K-12! Our education model, delivered through 1:1 virtual mentorship, is especially impactful for ages 10+.

Still have questions? Email us at and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.